Com­mit­tee look­ing at af­ter ac­tion re­views, plans

The Standard Journal - - POLICE & FIRE - By Sean Wil­liams [email protected]­

Bet­ter safe than sorry de­scribes Polk’s pub­lic safety com­mit­tee that re­cently took the first steps to en­sure po­lice and first re­spon­dents get on hands prac­tice with their crit­i­cal emer­gency plans.

While there are plans on pa­per for deal­ing with school shoot­ings, no prac­ti­cal, hands-on ex­er­cises have been taken yet.

“I’m plan­ning to write a let­ter on be­half of the board, on be­half of Jen­nifer, ask­ing the school board that we have a meet­ing to dis­cuss the plan­ning for a train­ing ex­er­cise,” county man­ager Matt Den­ton said. “They’ve had no prac­ti­cal ex­er­cise, and I think it ben­e­fits ev­ery­one to do that.”

The prac­tice is even more im­por­tant when con­sid­er­ing each school has their own cus­tom re­sponse plan.

Of­fi­cers ar­riv­ing to a school shoot­ing would have to quickly adapt to a school’s lo­ca­tion, struc­ture, and pop­u­la­tion­based solely from their read­ing and in­struc­tion.

“We’ve got it on pa­per, you can study it all day long, but when they get on the scene, they’ve got to not even think­they just have to do,” Den­ton said.

The county po­lice have al­ways had an af­ter-ac­tion plan, but the death of De­tec­tive Kristin Hearne sparked the need to take it fur­ther with more hands-on prac­tice and plan­ning.

“This all started af­ter Kristin (Hearne) got killed, and Jen­nifer (Hulsey) was in­ter­ested in mak­ing sure we had an af­ter-ac­tion plan in place,” Polk County Po­lice Chief Kenny Dodd said. “We’ve had that for years. Af­ter a crit­i­cal in­ci­dent, we have a de­brief­ing where we dis­cuss what went wrong and what went right.”

The com­ple­tion of the let­ter and the school board’s re­sponse are still pend­ing, but should the two par­ties agree, the up­com­ing fall break will pro­vide a wide win­dow drill prac­tice.

The county’s res­i­dents aren’t the only ones in dan­ger, how­ever.

Polk’s cat pop­u­la­tion has be­come too much for the an­i­mal shel­ter to han­dle, and hav­ing reached the le­gal hold­ing limit, no more stray cats can be taken in.

With fe­lines be­ing eu­th­a­nized and the feral pop­u­la­tion ris­ing, the pub­lic safety com­mit­tee has of­fi­cially taken bids to ex­tend the cat room and make room for more strays.

The price bids for a 16 by 20-foot ad­di­tion to the shel­ter are ex­pected by Oc­to­ber 17. Those in­ter­ested in adopt­ing or re­claim­ing a pet can visit an­i­mal con­trol at 1215 Veal St, Cedar­town.

Den­ton also touched on the pris­oner hous­ing fee and cited that the doc­u­ment was near­ing com­ple­tion.

The new in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment will in­crease the pris­oner hous­ing fees for the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for a three­year pe­riod in hopes of fi­nally break­ing even and mak­ing the jails more sus­tain­able for the county and cit­i­zens.

Sean Wil­liams /

County of­fi­cials dis­cussed af­ter ac­tion brief­ings at the Pub­lic Safety Com­mit­tee meet­ing.

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